I’ve been to Newtown once before: drunken and giggly; walking barefoot whilst dangling a pair of high heels in the air.
It was lovely at dawn, when the city was asleep. But what little part of me that was left sober that night, knew too well, Newtown was lovelier once awake.
The boylove and I have raided a couple of weekends since, and we have never fallen for a place as much as we have for this little artsy neighbourhood just on the outskirts of Sydney CBD.
It sure is possible to embark on adventures, even in the confines of our home city; and this, mates, is a cheat sheet.
You are welcome.
Photo Credit: Josephine Sicad Photography
Challenge Your Palate with Zing
Beat the rush-hour Sydney traffic and head to King Street for a couple of five-thirsty drinks. We always do.
If famished, as anyone surviving a Friday would expectedly be, indulge on a hearty dinner. Bangkok Bites, an urban-themed Thai restaurant along King St., provides the perfect backdrop for a moody, tipsy, TGIF dinner.
Address: 273 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia
Phone: +61 2 9565 1666
Indulge in a Sweet Pleasure
To cleanse the palate of the signature hot and spicy Thai favourites, sample a bite of baklava and a scoop of Turkish ice cream at Hakiki on Enmore Road after dinner.
Normally, I would encourage people to explore different flavours. But with Hakiki, the boylove and I are very biased towards burnt caramel ice cream and fig and walnut baklava.
Address: 1/63-71 Enmore Rd, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia
Phone: +61 2 8040 1676
Sleep in Art and Style
Call it an early night, and check in at the hip and fab, The Urban Newtown, just across the road from Hakiki.
Picture this: high concrete ceilings, street art-themed bedrooms and an urban rainforest in its atrium. Truly, a city urchin’s playground. Also, a free mini-bar awaits guests when you book direct at www.theurbanhotel.com.au
THE URBAN NEWTOWN
Address: 52-60 Enmore Rd, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia
Phone: +61 2 8960 7800
Grab an Instagrammable Brunch
Be kind to yourself and sleep in on a Saturday. There is no pleasure greater than the privilege of having a couple more minutes tucked under hotel sheets. Once up though, brace thyself for one powerful brunch.
The Front Room, just a short walk from The Urban Newtown, has fast become everyone’s favourite brunch nook. Good coffee, top-notch service, and all-day breakfast — these are the elements that make a good morning. These, too, apart from their signature omelette, are what The Front Room does best.
THE FRONT ROOM
Address: 29 Enmore Rd, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia
Phone: +61 431 105 049
Get Lost in a Colourful World
Following brunch, take advantage of the late morning sun and stroll around. Newtown’s laneways are refreshingly filled with street art– an extension of the shared passion that the community clearly does not have a shortage of.
On weekends, raid the Newtown Community Market and stock up on many swell finds: from handcrafted candles to organic food to pre-loved fashion ensembles.
Home is where the heART is. Catch the Newtown Festival on 12 November 2017. Visit www.newtownfestival.org for more details.
Drink Beer at Midday
Quench your thirst post-street-art spotting, and head to Young Henry’s for craft beer and awesome music. Drown in the noise. Immerse yourself in the chaos of the most interesting, inspirational and wonderful crowd in all of Sydney. I don’t say this lightly, because I’m INFJ, but I adore the maelstrom at Young Henry’s. Amen.
…and grab a burger while at it.
When we were there, The Chef’s Kitchen Burger Food Truck was outside, and we did not pass up the chance to sample some of their burgers. Verdict? Nothing else goes better with beer.
Address: 76 Wilford St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia
Hours: 12 – 7PM
Phone: +61 2 9519 0048
Take Thy Lover Out on a Date
Once the mood is set and you’re full and tipsy, catch a show at the iconic Enmore Theater. The Enmore is a century-old music and entertainment centre, and is the longest running live venue in the whole of New South Wales.
…coffee and gelato, too!
The queue can be challenging, though, as all things of worth. To gather strength and energy, grab a gelato at the nearby Cow and The Moon. Come back for more after the show, for a large cup of takeaway skinny latte, is imperative. Trust me.
Address: 118-132 Enmore Rd, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia
Phone: +61 2 9550 3666
COW AND THE MOON
Address: 181 Enmore Rd, Enmore NSW 2042, Australia
Phone: +61 2 9557 4255
Thou Shall Not Miss The Sushi Train
Sunday breakfasts are ought to be big and unforgiving. In our case (mostly mine :P), it’s good old sushi train and a big-arse cup of miso soup at Sushi Season.
Plus, the best thing about eating sushi for breakfast is that, your food is made fresh in front of you.
Address: 260 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia
Hours: 9AM to 10PM
Phone: +61 2 9517 2012
Hoard Art Prints for Your Home
Saunter through the length of King Street and drop by Blue Dog Posters and Prints Shop for retail art therapy.
Most of the time, it’s hard not to hoard. But if you are on the stingy side, head straight to the bargain corner at the back of the store for small, affordable treasures. I found a framed Salvador Dali print there, that now sits on a shelf in my study.
Upstairs is where an amazing stash of art textiles are displayed, and to this day, my heart aches for the World Map fabric print.
Address: 311 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia
Phone: +61 1300 781 002
Cool Down with Coffee Milkshakes at Blue Fig
The Sydney sun necessitates proper hydration: fact.
When in Newtown, downing a large serve of milkshake served by a good-looking barista (Hello Stranger!) while music-tripping is a very good idea. The playlist in that place is the bomb, and whoever put that together should be given a raise, stat!
Once the milkshake runs out though, it is without judgement if you must scull one draught beer after another. Time is irrelevant to drinking. Life is short.
BLUE FIG CAFE
Address: 1/112 Enmore Rd, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia
Phone: +61 2 9519 3925
Raid a Bookstore. All the Best People Do.
Over the years, as a non-reader, the boylove has known where to retreat to when accompanying me to trips to bookshops and libraries. He should, considering how I spend hours burying my nose on books.
Bookstores, for me, are touchstones. Reading has been my most valued discovery. At a time when I didn’t have much, it was where I can be everything, anywhere. Anything, everywhere.
The kinds that gravitate to Newtown, I suppose, are those that Better Read than Dead. Most clever bookstore name ever.
As an alternative, Elizabeth Bookshop takes one out on a Blind Date With a Book, where you buy a gift-wrapped book without seeing its cover or knowing its title. Literally, it doesn’t allow judging a book by its cover.
BETTER READ THAN DEAD
Address: 265 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia
Phone: +61 2 9557 8700
Address: 257 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia
Savour the Surprise in Tea and Dumplings
As a finale to the often elusive weekend, get serenaded by a string band whilst fine-dining at Luyu and Yumyum.
Whilst staying true to the very tenet of Chinese cuisine, Luyu and Yumyum is able refine the whole dining experience to appeal to a classy, modern society by dishing out a menu that fuses the bold flavours of the East with the restrained artistry of the West.
Even with a full restaurant, it felt as though, we were VIPs. That brand of customer service, above all, was what we were most happy to pay for.
LUYU AND YUMYUM
Address: 196 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia
Hours: 12–3PM, 5:30–10:15PM
Phone: +61 2 9557 3415